Old Saint Basil's Cathedral in MoscowJohnson's Russia List title and scenes of Saint Petersburg
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No. 229
December 11, 2001
[translation from RIA Novosti for personal use only]
By Valery VOLKOV and Konstantin GETMANSKY

State Duma member Yevgeny Primakov publicly confirmed his consent to become president of the national chamber of commerce and industry for the first time this past Sunday. Primakov's future career now depends on the delegates of the chamber's extraordinary congress, which would be expected to openly the new president December 14. According to Izvestia's sources, more than 50 percent of all delegates are ready to back the former Russian prime minister.

Primakov, who turned 72 this past October, says he is ready to head the chamber of commerce and industry, if the congress prefers his candidacy. The statute of this non-governmental and non-profit organization, which assists Russian businessmen, implies that the chamber's president shall be elected, if more than 50 percent of all delegates vote for him. Right now, Primakov has enlisted the support of 50 percent of 400 congress delegates. By all looks, Primakov will be unanimously supported by delegates from the Volga, Urals, North-West and Central federal districts.

The former prime minister has already worked out his own action program for improving the performance of the chamber of commerce and industry. Primakov intends to improve its performance, while serving as State Duma member. Moreover, he doesn't want to leave the lower parliament house. According to Primakov, the chamber of commerce and industry should render additional services, after obtaining some federal prerogatives (sic!). However, Primakov still keeps mum about such prerogatives.

They started looking for a post (that could be accepted by Primakov) ever since spring. At first, it was believed that Primakov would become State Duma speaker; subsequent rumours implied that he was going to head the Federation Council. However, Sergei Mironov, member of the so-called St. Petersburg group, became Federation Council speaker December 5. Apart from that, people used to say that Primakov would be elected to the post of president of the Russian Academy of Sciences. Still one should keep in mind that Primakov's good relations with Vladimir Putin don't necessarily mean that such relations are something productive. It seems that the President of Russia doesn't want the former prime minister to obtain any key positions.

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